Windfarms and aviation

Mitigating impacts and supporting innovation


  • ANSPs in UK and Europe
  • UK airports
  • Windfarm developers and funders


Across Europe we have seen a shift towards wind energy as an alternative to fossil fuels and an aid to meeting renewable energy targets. Both on- and offshore wind turbine developments are planned or in place, ranging from single structures to developments encompassing over one hundred wind turbines and which range in size from less than 30 metres to over 150 metres tall. The physical characteristics of wind turbines coupled with the size and siting of the developments can result in effects which impact on aviation. In particular, the installation of wind farms close to radars for Air Traffic Control impact the performance of these radars, especially Primary Surveillance Radars (PSR). Due to the size and the velocity of the rotating turbine blades the reflections of the transmitted radar pulse look very similar to those from aircraft.

Role of Helios

Helios has a long track record of advising on windfarm impacts for both aviation stakeholders and windfarm developers. Our wide-ranging experience includes:

Interference analysis: Establishing whether planned windfarms might interfere with ATC radar services, taking into account local terrain, radar performance and local airspace. If appropriate, using RF tools to calculate the predicted radar line of sight, coverage and potential inteference from individual wind turbines. This can then be compared against the results of analysis and flight trials performed by the radar manufacturer to make an assessment of the operational impact.

Mitigation strategies and roadmapping: Independent analysis of potential wind farm mitigation strategies for a European ANSP, including costs/benefits, stakeholder requirements, implementation options for technologies and a roadmap for full surveillance masterplanning and implementation.

Due diligence: Studies on behalf of wind farm developers and funders, airports and others which considered specific risks and developed, reviewed and/or analysed proposed mitigations.

Expert advisor: Inputs to enhance windfarm developers' and funders' understanding of aviation industry needs and improve subsequent dealings with those impacted. For example, proposing redesigned helicopter operations to maintain accessibility to offshore platforms.

Specialised procurement support: Expert help for airports looking to replace existing radars and mitigate the impacts of windfarms. Our role has ranged from ad hoc expert inputs, technical specifications and safety case development right through to managing complete procurement programmes.

Supporting innovation: Analysing the performance of new radars and new surveillance technologies in the vicinity of windfarms. Our role ranges from designing and analysing technical/operational trials through to conducting independent performance analysis, or cost/benefit analysis.


Interference analysis has enabled radar performance to be optimised by engineering teams at customer airports and ANSPs.

Studies on behalf of windfarm developers and funders have helped them plan and implement their infrastructure in a way that minimises impacts on aviation, increasing their chances of planning approval.

Helios work on surveillance technology roadmapping and windfarm mitigation helped one ANSP secure funding from their regional government.

Procurement support for airports and ANSPs has provided vital technically knowledgeable additional resource to help define specifications, manage the procurement process and ensure best value for customers.

Independent trials management and validation of results/analysis delivers an extra layer of assurance in new and innovative technologies or solutions.

For more information on this project please contact Adam Parkinson.

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